How to Paint Faux Marble

Lead Image
What You'll Need
White primer
Eggshell or satin finish white paint
Light, medium, and dark shades of gray craft paint
Black paint (optional)
Bowls for paint
Smooth foam roller and roller tray
Sea sponge
Damp cloth
Misting water bottle and water
Medium and fine grit sandpaper
Paste wax
Rags for buffing

Marble is incredibly popular in the world of home decor. From countertops to vases to flooring, marble presents a sleek, chic, and stylish look that is highly desirable. However, there is a downside to this home decor trend: it’s quite pricey.

Luckily, you can still take advantage of this look without paying the high price tag. Doing so is actually easy. Simply paint items made of a less expensive material to look like marble.

This DIY project is commonly referred to as “faux marble painting,” and it’s easier to do than you may think. Follow this tutorial to do your own faux marble painting to get the look you’re going for without breaking the bank.

What Kind of Items Should You Paint?

There is a wide range of items that you can take advantage of this technique with. Consider faux marble painting on a table, stools, dresser, nightstand, or even wood countertops. Flat, wood surfaces work well for this project. With that in mind, you can really let your imagination run wild with the possibilities. Marble looks great in any room, so use this painting technique to compliment your kitchen, act as an accent in your family room, or to spruce up your bedroom.

Step 1 - Smooth the Surface

To ensure that the paint job looks as real and natural as possible, you need to make sure that the surface is as smooth as possible. Fill any existing dents or holes with wood filler. Sand the surface until it’s completely smooth with medium grit sandpaper. After you’re done sanding, remove dust and grit with either a tack cloth or a slightly damp rag.

Step 2 - Prime the Surface

Simply apply one coat of primer atop the surface and let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3 - Paint Several Coats

A marble fireplace.

Using a white eggshell or satin paint, apply one coat with a roller and allow it to dry. Afterward, apply two to three more coats, ensuring each dries completely before moving on to the next. You should continue applying paint until you are satisfied with the smoothness of the white paint.

Step 4 - Add the Veining

This is the trickiest part of the process, but that doesn’t mean it’s that hard. The “veining” is what gives this paint job the look of marble, though, so it’s definitely important. To make veining easier, purchase a small marble tile to make it easier to visualize what you want your project to ultimately look like. While it’s not necessary to do this, it’s encouraged. Remember that marble veins are typically positioned diagonally and appear to be slightly blurry.

To successfully vein the surface, mix each color of gray paint with water, using the ratio of three parts of paint to one part of water. You will use a feather to create this marble look, which can be purchased at any craft store or found in nature.

Dip the tip of the feather into the lightest gray paint, then draw a diagonal line across the surface. Drag the feather across, moving it on its side back and forth gently. This gives the line a more natural look rather than a line that is straight and rigid. These lines should possess a great amount of variation and shape. Continue this process until you have several lines.

Step 5 - Mist the Veins

In between every few veins, use a spray bottle to gently mist your work. This gives the lines the blurred effect you are looking for. You should hold the spray bottle about a foot away from the surface as you mist. If you made any mistakes while veining the area, this is a great time to rectify it. Use a sea sponge to blot excess water and make these changes.

Step 6 - Continue Veining

Once the water is completely dry, use a darker color gray to accent the veins you’ve created. You will also want to mix some black or white paint into one of the gray colors in order to produce another variation of gray to make your “marble” more dynamic and realistic. Mist as you go and don’t forget to vein the sides of the surface you’re working on for the full effect.

Step 7 - Smooth the Surface Again

A marble table with wine glasses on it.

Once the paint and water are dry, run fine sandpaper atop the surface to ensure that it is completely smooth. Remove sanding grit with the cloth you used earlier.

Step 8 -Apply a Top Coat

Mix the original white paint you used with water. Apply a thin top coat with a roller and let it dry thoroughly.

Step 9 - Apply Wax

Use a paste wax to protect the surface and create a shine that resembles that of marble. Pour on the wax and allow it to dry, buff it, and then reapply. Three or so layers of wax should do the trick.

Creating a marble look alike piece is as easy as that, and it’s a fun process, too. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have a stylish conversation piece that no one would guess is actually anything other than marble itself.